Sometimes as an artist, you really struggle with a painting. ‘Ed not Ed’ was that painting for me. I’ve had this painting playing out in my head for about a year. Crazy, I know. I could see it perfectly, and every detail was there in live action. Ed happily gazing up at the 3 dragonflies lazily swirling about in wiggly-jittery animation style. Why this scenario? I haven’t a clue, but it was perfect and I had to paint it. So, now, in my cozy new home studio, with an 11 foot work table (that I made myself) to spread out on, art books a plenty, reference printed & pinned up, and double glass doors that I can close to be alone in my artistic agony, I’ve finally painted Ed. Ahhh…
Well by now, hopefully, (because you’ve seen the pic) you know know which Ed I am referring to? Well…Ed Sheeran, of course! Doesn’t it look exactly like him? Pause…. “Yes, but no,” you say? Ugh, I know!!!! And it drives me crazy. It looks like Ed, but there’s just something not quite Ed. No matter how much I worked and reworked, I just couldn’t capture him exactly. (I’m sorry Ed) I set him aside, just in view, while starting another painting, so I could contemplate. Where was I going wrong? What wasn’t I seeing. My husband of course, thinks I’m crazy, as all artist’s partners do. So he sent out a pic of my almost finished Ed to a few of his friends with only “Who is this?” to accompany it. The response from said friends…”It kinda looks like Ed Sheeran”.
Now, to my husband, this was a resounding applause for my artistic achievement. A total affirmation that my painting was perfectly Ed Sheeran. “See honey, they know exactly who it is, it’s perfect!!” To me, it was definitely a positive affirmation, but one that said ‘it could be Ed…but it could also be someone that looks a lot like Ed – and we’re not sure and we don’t want to insult your wife’ Am I right?
Ah, alas, I finished Ed not Ed with a kind of blissful satisfaction that no matter what I do, I will never be 100% happy with a painting. There is always that little something that I wish I had changed. Or added a little more color, light, detail. I could go on and on. The truth is, as artists, we are always second guessing ourselves, even if we don’t show it. The artist ego is one that must be lassoed with fairy dust and moon light, ever so careful not to ruffle it’s visions of idealism.